Internet Vs. TV Ads: Which Are More Valuable?


Advertisers Invest In The Internet

Which is a more valuable advertising space: a television commercial or a banner ad online? New research from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) suggests that the banner ad would win out. According to a yearly report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a subdivision of the New Media Group of PwC, more money was spent on Internet ad sales than broadcast television in 2013. The grand total for web-based advertising last year was $42.8 billion, a 17 percent increase from 2012’s spending and a full $2.7 billion more than what was spent on television advertising in the same time period.

But what does this mean for television, or, more importantly, the Internet? The greater investment in advertising for the web indicates that advertisers find more value in that outlet than a standard 30 second commercial on television. But, the move is reactionary; if people weren't spending more time on the Internet, companies wouldn't be funding advertising for the web. Here are the ways advertising will change because of this shift:

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Where once you would bear the five to eight minute slew of commercials when you wanted to watch your favorite half-hour television show, those commercials are now limited to certain video streaming websites. This means that video-based advertising is evolving to meet Internet-based attention spans. On Youtube, for example, advertisers have the option to purchase video space from 15 to 60 seconds long and make them skippable or non-skippable. Regardless of whether viewers have the option to skip or not, though, they can easily switch a tab or make themselves a snack while the commercial runs, so advertisers only have a few seconds to convince the viewer to keep watching. Keeping the attention of this viewership, then, can be more of a challenge than that of the average television watcher who did not invest in a DVR.

Product Placement

Remember when your favorite character in a sitcom only drank Pepsi? Or when there were way too many shots of your favorite action hero’s Maserati in one sequence? Advertisers love to squeeze as many products into one shot as possible for added profit. While this won’t change anytime soon in the world of television shows, similar product placement is gracing your computer screen, and it’s doing so with increased direction.

Let’s say, for example, that you looked into buying a t-shirt from Amazon on your last online visit. While it might be nice to believe that you can get away from that page scot-free just by exiting out of the tab, that’s not necessarily true. Amazon has actually tagged your computer with information that will help sites like Facebook, tailor their ads to your desires. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, when you see the exact t-shirt you were looking at on the ads on the side of your Facebook news feed.

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Companies have many more ways to advertise to us on the Internet. Along with banner ads on our screens and commercials on our videos, advertisers can also reach us by:

  • Placing ads on our phones: If you’ve ever played Fruit Ninja or a game similar to it, you know that free applications make money by peddling ads. These ads usually last around 15 seconds and are often impossible to skip.
  • Putting ads in our searches: When you type something into Google, often times you’ll see a few results labeled as ads at the top of the screen. Sometimes, you might even click on them. Advertisers try to get us to click on their products by making it a tempting search result.
  • Linking to other sites: If you’ve read a few articles online, you’ll notice that some words or phrases are hyperlinked. Clicking on them can be a mixed bag. If it’s a reliable site, the link might be to a supporting article, study, or other information. If it’s unreliable, it might link to something totally unrelated, but through which the website gets paid to put up.

To put it simply: the Internet is an advertiser’s playground. There are tons of ways they can reach us, and it is nearly impossible to get away from all of them. In that way, we might have been better off sticking to television.

Date of original publication:
Updated on: November 10, 2015

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